Gingerbread cookies are one of the classic Christmas desserts and even the scent of them often evokes memories of childhood gingerbread house making and tree decorating.
Healthy Gingerbread Cookies?
I’ve never been much of a cookie-maker, but this year the kids requested gingerbread cookies after visiting friends and making gingerbread houses. Since I was trying to find a way to incorporate molasses and dates (for a shorter labor) into my daily diet, the idea of gingerbread cookies sounded a lot better than taking molasses or dates on their own, so I started experimenting with a grain-free, high-protein, spiced molasses and date gingerbread cookie recipe.
After several failed attempts, I’m happy with these fragrant and delicious cookies that are free of any refined sweeteners and packed with nutrient-dense ingredients. Not only do they taste delicious, but I don’t mind letting the kids have them (or eating them myself) because of the benefits of their ingredients:
- Molasses: a great natural source of iron, b-vitamins, magnesium, and copper. It has many beneficial properties and is often recommended to help battle anemia, for improved digestion, to reverse gray hair, and as a low-calorie sweetener.
- Dates: a fruit that is often eaten alone or used as a natural sweetener. Said to be anti-inflammatory and are often suggested for heart health, healthy blood pressure, and brain health. When I recently found a study about how consuming dates regularly could shorten labor, I decided to give them a try, especially since my past labors have been 24+ hours long.
- Almond Flour: high in protein, filling, and nourishing
- Cinnamon: a little spice with a lot of benefits, cinnamon has immune-boosting and infection-fighting properties, and is often used to help regulate blood sugar and is popular for its delicious taste.
Of course, no cookie is great for daily consumption, although I’d say these are as close as they come. We had a great time making these for Christmas and I’ll be making a few more batches to help get my molasses and dates in before this baby comes. They aren’t overly sweet, but if you aren’t used to a lot of processed desserts, they have the perfect balance of sweet and spice.
If gingerbread cookies are part of your family tradition for the holidays but you want a way to give them a boost of protein and nutrients, I think you’ll really enjoy this recipe!
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Dates & Molasses
Yield 24 +
Homemade healthy gingerbread cookies with molasses, dates, almond flour, and coconut flour are nutrient-dense and packed with beneficial properties.
- 3 ½ cups blanched almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBSP fresh ginger, grated, or 1 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 TBSP + 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 pinch each of cloves and nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup butter or coconut oil, melted
- 12 pitted dates
- ¼ cup almond milk or coconut milk
- 1/3 cup organic blackstrap molasses
- coconut sugar or other sugar for rolling cookies (optional)
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl mix together the almond flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and coconut flour.
- In a blender blend the eggs, melted butter or coconut oil, dates, almond or coconut milk, and molasses.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Dough should be thick enough to form balls, but not quite as thick as playdough.
- You may need to add an extra 1/2 cup almond flour or 1 Tablespoon coconut flour to get the correct consistency. If dough is too thick, add 1 Tablespoon almond or coconut milk at a time to get desired texture.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 15 minutes to let harden slightly. This will make it easier to form for baking.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Carefully roll the dough into 1 inch balls.
- If using sugar, roll the dough in a light coating of sugar for texture and to help prevent sticking.
- Place dough on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. Halfway through baking, remove from oven and make marks with a fork, if desired. This step is completely optional but creates the look of traditional molasses cookies.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing from baking sheet.
These cookies will be stickier than regular gingerbread cookies and are not ideal for use with cookie cutters or gingerbread houses. They do not have the gluten to help hold them together that baked goods made with regular flour do. Also, there can be differences between different types of almond and coconut flour, and even between types of dates and molasses, so you may have to adjust ingredients up or down slightly to get the correct consistency. When the cookies are done cooking they should still be semi-soft to the touch, but starting to harden around the edges.
Serving Size 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 9.7 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 37 mg
Sodium 142 mg
Total Carbohydrates 15.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 10.6 g
Protein 3.1 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Were gingerbread cookies a part of your childhood?